H IS EXCELLENCY SECRETARY SINGSON,
Department of Public Works and Highways
HONORABLE GOVERNOR JURDIN JESUS ROMUALDO,
Governor of Camiguin
HONORABLE REPRESENTATIVE PEDRO ROMUALDO,
Representative of Camiguin Lone District
HONORABLE MAYOR ALEX JAJALLA
Mayor of Camiguin
MR. TAKAHIRO SASAKI,
Chief Representative of JICA Philippines
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN ,
It is my honor to join you all today for the inauguration of the Project for Flood Disaster Mitigation in Camiguin Island . But before talking about this project, allow me to start by expressing once again, on behalf of the people and the government of Japan, our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims of the Tropical Storm “Sendong” as well as our deep sympathy for all those affected by the devastation caused by the storm. As a close neighbor of the Philippines, we immediately responded to the situation by airlifting and delivering emergency relief goods to Cagayan de Oro and other affected areas to mitigate the impact of the calamity cruelly imposed on many people in and around the Northern Mindanao. Rest assured that Japan will continue to assist the people and the communities in affected areas in whatever ways we can as we closely watch the situation evolves.
So, in a way, it is inspiring as well as timely that we are gathering here today in this part of the Philippines to witness the inauguration of a project related to disaster prevention. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to congratulate you all on the completion of this project.
This project is also based on the tragic experience of the people of Camiguin, who suffered similarly heavy loss of lives and collateral damage during Typhoon Nanang in 2001. This project, together with non-structural disaster prevention assistance Japan implemented earlier such as evacuation drills and educational campaign, will strengthen the ability of Camiguin Island against the future risks of mud slides and other negative impacts, thus contributing to enhancing disaster prevention and management capability of the Philippines. I believe the construction of two Sabo dams and rebuilding of the old Hubangon Bridge by this project will bring about improvement of the quality of life of the people in Camiguin.
Cooperation in the field of disaster prevention and management has long been one of the main pillars of our bilateral cooperation. When President Aquino visited Japan in September last year, both leaders of Japan and the Philippines confirmed the necessity and importance of further cooperation in this field. Being close neighbors both prone to natural disasters, Japan and the Philippines can assist each other by sharing experiences and lessons accumulated over the years to help mitigate the suffering of their people in the face of natural calamities.
As the leaders of the both countries confirmed, comprehensive cooperative relationship existing between us is now appropriately characterized as strategic partnership. As we embark on the enhancement of strategic partnership between us, Japan would also like to deepen cooperation with the Philippines in this field beyond the realm of bilateral relations. The issue of climate change is now presented before us as an unavoidable responsibility for all the nations in the world. As strategic partners and responsible members of the international community, Japan and the Philippines should also be able to cooperate on this kind of pressing global issue. Japan believes that we can do that with the Philippines, as we are not strategic partners only in words, but also in deeds and concrete actions.
As we face the start of a nother challenging ye ar on these global issues , I am confident that the relationship between our two nations as well as th e bond of friendship between our two peoples can only be strengthened by tackling together these daunting challenges.
Thank you very much.